Large-scale festivals and stunning concerts, scientific and industrial breakthroughs, civic activists hard work and victories, moving charity events, startups, poetry presentations – the motley picture of Kharkiv life made up the year of 2017, which will soon go into history.
Volunteer initiatives such as creating a virtual museum of Slovo, “the house of writers,” which became the site of mass repression towards the city’s intelligentsia in 1933-1938 or guided tours for blind people and historical monuments protection have become the city’s highlights in 2017.
Kharkiv Observer has compiled the top five landmark city’s events.
1. Battle for Maidan Svobody
For the first time in Kharkiv’s history, the active citizens, including young professionals, architects and activists won their battle against a non-transparent architect contest and prevented the city mayor’s team from installing a questionable column in Kharkiv’s main square – Maidan Svobody. The struggle started in autumn 2016 and the final legal appeal from the city authorities was rejected this December.
However, the square is still hindered with the metal fence, which was installed in 2016 to start the controversial monument construction. Head of the Anti-Corruption Centre and the campaign initiator Dmytro Bulakh states that dismantling the fence is the next year’s task.
2. Elina Svitolina’s Triumph
Throughout 2017, she was marching up the ladder of amazing victories. In September, Ukrainian number one tennis player, 23-year-old Elina Svitolina, reached WTA Top 3 – the highest ever ranking record for any professional Ukrainian tennis player. Svitolina, tennis player from Kharkiv, won nine WTA titles, including five in 2017, three of which are Premier 5 series tournaments, and two more are WTA International tournaments. For the first time, she reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the US Open. Svitolina has finished 2017 in WTA top ten players, occupying the sixth position.
3. Kharkiv Tragedy
In October 2017, Ukraine was terrified with the news about tragic accident on Sumska Street, where five people were killed on the same spot and six badly injured, with one dying later on. The general concern was that a driver, young girl, daughter of rich parents, would escape punishment. So far this is not the case. The suspected girl was detained immediately and appears before the court.
4. Ukrainian Scouting Plast Organization
Ukrainian scouts movement, developed by volunteers and activists, has become Kharkiv new inspiring feature in 2017. Plast held summer camps and ancient fortresses excavations, festivals and contests. The young scouts arranged charity concerts and brought the Holy Fire from Jerusalem to Kharkiv. New reliable patriotic active people, educated by Plast tutors according to tough moral principles, present the foundation for the new future of Ukraine.
5. Wizz Air in Kharkiv
The news, having gained the most views in 2017, was the report about renewed flights from Kharkiv by Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air. Although the company will start operating in Kharkiv from April 5, 2018, many people already look forward to it. The flights from Kharkiv to Dortmund, Germany, will be performed twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays.
However, one of the most significant events of 2017 has become recent releasing Ukrainian captives from terrorists’ prisons. The inspiring meeting of invincible heroes gives Kharkivites hope and faith before the New Year.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Kharkiv Observer reports, Olena Sokolynska